Tales from the road

The dangers of little old ladies.


She stopped in front of me and asked in a mixed German and Romanian: “Du bist fon Holland jah?”, which means “You are from Holland, yes?” I guess she understood the ‘NL’ sticker next to the license-plate on my bike. Sort of confused I answered that I was, still expecting a vicious attack with her cane but to my surprise she than asked if I had any news from her son. He had gone to Holland, and she had not heard from him for a long time. When I asked her if he had not telephoned her, she replied that the village did not have a phone, so she waited for someone to bring her news and hoped I was that someone, which of course I was not.


We chatted a little about Holland in a strange mixed language. I was still a bit nervous and sort of expected her to call the unshaven men to force me to tell the truth about what I had done to her son, but nothing of the sort happened. She touched my hand and left with a smile. I was a bit puzzled. No phone? Is it then not logical that you don’t hear anything?

I guess my logic does not apply to this world.


I finished my lunch, feeling much more a veteran traveler, not afraid of anything. Except for little old ladies of course. Back on the road I came across an other little old lady. This one was at least 200 years old, small as a gnome but skinny and frail like a tree-leaf. Her back was so crocked she must not have been able to see anything but her own feet.  She wore a shapeless black rag and pulled a small cart (still twice as big as her self) with firewood on it.

It was such a dramatic sight, I just needed to have a photo of it so I turned around (when you see things like this on a bike you are past them before your brain tells you it’s a Kodak-thing), parked 30 meters past her on the opposite side of the road, got out my camera and took the photo.